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How Much Sleep Do I Need?

Tuesday, 05 Apr 2011 04:49 PM

Sleep is required in order for your body to rejuvenate itself. Without adequate and restful sleep a person can experience lack of energy, irritability, weight gain, tiredness during the day, accidents, depression, and it can weaken your immune system. Technically, there is no magic number of hours for sleep.

The amount of sleep you require is determined by age, certain medical conditions like pregnancy, and individual needs. Some people function better on five hours of sleep while others many need nine hours. New information about sleep has determined that the old standard that everyone needs eight hours of sleep a night has become passe even though some resources still recommend it.

How do you know if you are getting enough sleep? If you awaken feeling refreshed, you are getting the right amount of sleep. If you awaken tired, you may have to rethink your sleep habits. How can you change your sleep habits and begin to get the right amount of sleep for your body?

Develop a good sleep routine. Caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and certain medications can affect how you sleep. If you are taking a prescription medication that affects your sleep, consult with your doctor before discontinuing it.

Relax your mind by avoiding reading, playing on your computer, watching TV, listening to music or anything that keeps your mind working before bedtime. Try some deep breathing exercises or meditation to clear your mind instead. Avoid eating or exercise in the few hours before bedtime and avoid mid-morning or afternoon naps.

Good sleep hygiene is important to your health and sleep time. If you find you are not sleeping enough due to frequent waking times during sleep you may need to consult with a doctor or sleep therapist if you cannot get this under control. You can also research natural ways to get better sleep online or find supplements like Valerian root, melatonin, and/or L-tryptophan in order to get proper sleep.

There are a variety of resources that can help you discover how to sleep better in order to give your body the right amount of time to renew itself. You can find many valuable resources about sleep at the National Sleep Foundation website or other reliable medical websites like Mayo Clinic or WebMD online.

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